Article published in:Prosody and Humor
Edited by Salvatore Attardo, Manuela Maria Wagner and Eduardo Urios-Aparisi
[Benjamins Current Topics 55] 2013
► pp. 121–142
The humorous effects of deaccent and L+H* pitch accent
This paper argues that intonation contributes to the humorous meaning of a certain class of jokes. Examples of both canned and spontaneous jokes show that two intonation patterns, the intonation of contrast, or “L+H* pitch accent”, and the intonation of given information, or “deaccent”, can contribute to a humorous effect. Both of these patterns act as cohesive devises in discourse: they trigger a mental search in the mind of a hearer for a cohesive tie that may not be obvious from the lexicogrammatical structure alone. A punch line effect is created if this search yields an unexpected incongruity between the hearer’s initial mental model of the joke discourse and a humorous alternative. The hearer must shift his “script” (Raskin 1984) of the discourse in an unexpected way. To the extent that intonation facilitates processing by directing attention to particular elements in the information structure of the discourse (Chafe 1994), the processing of jokes depends in part on their intonation. The implications of this premise for the processing of humorous texts will be discussed for the two intonation patterns in question. It is argued that intonation analysis can lead to a broader understanding of cognitive processes and structures.
Published online: 06 December 2013
Cited by other publications
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 23 november 2020. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.